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DTE Energy powers up $310 million pension plan contribution

DTE steam
Steam rises from a tower at DTE Energy Co.’s Monroe Power Plant in Monroe, Mich.

DTE Energy Co., Detroit, expects to contribute $310 million to its defined benefit plans in 2017, the company said in its 10-K filed with the SEC on Thursday.

Most of the contribution — $270 million — is earmarked for the DTE Electric Co. defined benefit plan, with the balance going into the DTE Energy Co. pension fund.

In 2016, DTE Energy contributed a total of $179 million to its two defined benefit plans, $145 million of which into DTE Electric’s plan, according to the company’s SEC filing.

DTE Energy’s defined benefit plan assets as of Dec. 31 were $4.01 billion, up 4.7% from the same date a year earlier. Projected benefit obligations were $5.17 billion in 2016 for a funding ratio of 77.6%.

DTE Electric’s defined benefit plan assets increased 4.7% to $2.84 billion in the year ended Dec. 31. Projected benefit obligations were $3.85 billion for a funding ratio of 73.8%.

The asset allocation for both DTE plans as of Dec. 31 was 25% fixed income, 22% U.S. large-cap equity, 20% each non-U.S. equity and hedge funds, 8% private equity/other and 5% U.S. smidcap equity.

DTE lowered the 2016 discount rate for both plans to 4.25% from 4.5%, the 10-K showed.